The Light is Coming …

Dawn at Trillium Lake

Trillium Lake, Oregon. Photo: William Woodward (CC BY-NC 3.0), 2014.

Anna is back in school this week, which means no more sleeping in for anyone. We are up at 6:20 a.m., and because it’s winter and we live in Oregon it’s still dark.

It’s dark when she says goodbye to Julia, who leaves for work at 6:30 each morning.

It’s dark when she gets her mini-breakfast (the small snack she has when she gets up to hold her until her “real breakfast” at school).

It’s dark when she brushes her teeth and gets dressed.

It’s dark when she feeds our two guinea pigs and checks their hay and water.

It’s dark when she packs her lunch (on the days she packs lunch instead of getting it at the cafeteria).

And it’s dark when we walk to the bus stop together, and she gives me a hug and kiss goodbye.

Every morning now, and for the next month or so, we will start our day in the dark.

But the light is coming and that’s what today is about. The light that came into the world at Christmas is the same light that the Magi sought out when they journeyed to Bethlehem. They were only the first of many who would come to that light. Soon, nations would stream to it and a humble birth in a stable that was probably a cave used for quartering animals at night would become the most celebrated holiday in the world.

The light is coming, as sure as the sunrise. And as at the sunrise, the darkness will flee before it.

Before him.

Something to remember when the darkness gets you down. The light is coming.

Cheerleaders of Faith

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/29/14

Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Xavier Romero-Frias (CC BY-SA 3.0)

And the Twelve Blogs of Christmas (aka the best Christmas posts of the week).

1.SB Nation’s 12 Days of GIFsmas” by Bill Hanstock at SB Nation. 

2.Have a Merry, Messy Christmas” by Kelly Langston at Support for Special Needs.

3. “The Town With Three Christmases” by Yolande Knell at BBC News Magazine.

4. “By His Light” by Ashley Larkin, guest posting at Christine Purifoy’s blog, There is a River.

5.House of Bread” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

6.Things I’ll Be Doing This Christmas Vacation” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

7.An Unexpected Revolution” by Elizabeth Stoker-Bruenig at Democratic Socialists of America.

8.Books on Monday: Charlie and the Christmas Kitty” by Leslie Lindsay at Speaking of Apraxia.

9. “A Nation in Dire Need of Christmas” by Christopher J. Hale at Time.

10.Cool Gifts Christians Can Give Baby Jesus for His Birthday” by John Pavolitz.

11.Pope Calls for Peace, says: ‘Truly There Are Too Many Tears This Christmas!’” by Gerard O’Connell at America.

12.The Glove and Boots Holiday Playlist” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

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Gloria In Excelsis Deo!

Angel with Gloria banner.

The Song of Bethlehem by J.R. Clayton (1901)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2: 1-20—RSV)

Merry Christmas!

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/22/14

Cars stuck in snow

Photo: Cornelia Becker Seigneur

Best Parenting Post.No One Cares, Mom” by Cornelia Becker Seigneur.

Best Open Letter.Open Letter To Michelle Duggar As She Celebrates Victory In Repealing LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws” by Carissa House-Dunphy at Liberal America.

Best Retrospective.The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill” by Ben Turtin at Leadership Journal.

Best Special Needs Post.Some Thoughts on a Very Very Very Bad Idea” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Satire.Ayn Rand Reviews Children’s Movies” by Mallory Ortberg at The New Yorker.

Best Essay.An Honest Game” by Nigel Duara at SB Nation.

Best Book Review.Parenting in the Present Moment: A Review and Giveaway” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Bravest.I Will Give You a New Heart and Put a New Spirit in You” by Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.

Best Seasonal Post.Oh, There’s No Place Like Homesick For The Holidays” by John Pavlovitz.

Best Reflection.Pantheon, One Fallen” by Stefanie Gunning at Working Without a Net.

Best Take on a Cliché.Keeping Christ in Christmas” by Alise Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best Trailer (LEGO or Otherwise).Azog’s Battle Plan,” a trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies by Brotherhood Workshop (via YouTube).

“We strike at dusk!”

Venite Adoremus!

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds.

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (1622)

No one is certain who wrote the original four verses of “Adeste Fideles,” known in English as “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Some have claimed it was Saint Bonaventure, others King John IV of Portugal, and still others an anonymous Cistercian monk during the High Middle Ages. The tune we’re familiar with is credited to John Francis Wade, and may have come to him in some form via the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The most familiar English translation is by an English Catholic priest named Frederick Oakley, and it is this version that will be sung on Christmas Eve in churches both Catholic and Protestant throughout the English-speaking world.

It one of many hymns, carols, and song that have been around for so long that no one knows for sure who wrote it. Many traditions are like that, whether widespread ones or those particular to families. Traditions root us in a rootless era, bringing back childhood memories and connecting us with long-departed predecessors. Celebrate yours this week whatever they may be.

And adore the One who came to make all the old things new.

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Spreading Christmas Cheer

Anna in her vest and reindeer antlers.

Anna at her Girl Scout Service Unit’s Carol Sing

Each month, Anna’s new Girl Scout troop gives back to the community through a service project. This month we joined our local Service Unit at a local nursing home. The girls sang carols in the cafeteria during lunch time, and then each scout delivered a gift bag to a resident. It was a wonderful way to spread Christmas cheer.

All the participants earned a service patch, which our troop leader handed out yesterday at our Holiday Troop Party.

Nursing Home CarolingNext month, her troop will be delivering blankets and scarves to a local warming center. And in the meantime, Anna and her fellow Brownies are coming up with ideas for a project of their own to help fulfill the requirements of the Brownie Quest Journey they’re taking together.

Brownie Quest badges

Stay tuned …